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What do I do with my used sandbags?

Sandbags are often used to protect homes and businesses from flooding during storms.

TAMPA, Fla. — Sandbags: Something you might have used to prepare for Elsa as the storm approached the Tampa Bay area.

Now, you might be wondering what to do with them after the storm passes. 

If the sandbags have come in contact with floodwater, they could be contaminated with sewage or septic waste, animal waste, oil and gasoline residue, lawn chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, or other harmful chemicals, according to Pinellas County's website.

That means you will want to avoid coming into contact with them. You can protect yourself by wearing gloves and even a mask if there are loose materials. 

The county says you should not place the sandbags near water, playgrounds or sandboxes. 

You can find county-by-county recourses for disposing of debris after the storm here.

If your sandbags were not used or didn't come in contact with floodwaters, there are a few things you can do. 

You can spread the sand on your lawn or on other landscaping areas, the Pinellas County website says. 

You can also keep and store clean sandbags so you're ready for a future storm. 

In preparation for Elsa, several counties in the Tampa Bay area opened sandbag sites for individuals to protect their homes and businesses. 

To get your county's emergency alerts, click here


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